University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) & Pacific Island Health Officers' Association (PIHOA)


The University of Hawai‘i System includes 10 campuses and dozens of educational, training, and research centers across the six main Hawaiian Islands.
University of Hawaii’s position between East and West, in the middle of the Pacific, creates opportunities for international leadership, collaboration, and alliances. Asia/Pacific expertise permeates the university’s activities and programs.


The CALPACT program at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa (UHM) provides face-to-face trainings for existing public health professionals and for public health professionals-in-training within the state of Hawai‘i. UHM also utilizes its service agreement with the Pacific Island Health Officer Association (PIHOA) to reach the public health workforce in the Republic of Palau and other US-Associated Pacific Islands.

  1. University of Hawai‘i and PIHOA offer four ongoing CALPACT Programs: UHM and PIHOA provide many face-to-face trainings in Hawaii and Palau and at regional meeting for public health workers from all the six U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands.
  2. UHM collaborates with the Hawai‘i Public Health Hui, which is made up of numerous public health organizations in Hawai‘i to bring collaborative trainings to the state.
  3. PIHOA collaborates with the Palau Ministry of Health and College of Health to offer public health capacity-building trainings to the Palau public health workforce.
  4. UHM offers practicum courses to Masters of Public Health students at UHM to be assigned at many different practicum placement sites throughout the state of Hawai‘i and beyond. One recent practicum placement was with PIHOA at Palau.

The PIHOA Board of Directors consists of the ministers, directors and secretaries of health for the six USAPI. Additional membership includes United States Asian & Pacific Islander (USAPI) health deputies and senior subordinates, along with eight health professional associations for medicine, nursing, dentistry, behavioral health, primary care, cancer control, and education. PIHOA staff work from Guam, Palau, and Honolulu and include a full-time Executive Director, Program Administrator, Regional Lab Coordinator, Regional Health Workforce Development Coordinator, Quality Assurance Specialist, and a Finance Officer.



Valerie Yontz, RN, MSN, PhD


Dr. Valerie Yontz is currently Associate Specialist and Practicum Coordinator. Through her experiences in the community, Dr. Yontz helps make linkages and placements for the MPH students' field practicum.

Prior to her work at the university, Dr. Yontz worked as Health Service Director for the Pohai Nani Retirement Assisted Living facility and with Hospice Hawaii as Patient Care Coordinator. Over a ten year span, Dr. Yontz was the Coordinator of an Elderly Service Program for a Community Health Center in Hawaii called Kokua Kalihi Valley (KKV) Comprehensive Family Services. She developed an expansive and very successful community-based elderly service program that demonstrated the elderly can exercise, eat right, improve their health, and age more successfully while staying longer in their own homes. Dr. Yontz also served as the Quality Assurance Officer and the Director of Public Housing Services for the Kokua Kalihi Valley Health Center (KKV). She created many major components of KKV's Quality Improvement system.

Dr. Yontz is originally from Central Illinois and has a wide range of experiences acquired throughout her professional life. She is a nurse, biologist, sociologist, and gerontologist. Dr. Yontz has worked in Missouri, Maine, Utah, and Illinois as an emergency room nurse, home health nurse, tuberculosis monitoring nurse, and nursing consultant. With her transcultural nursing background, Dr. Yontz has worked overseas in Liberia, West Africa training village health workers, and in Thailand, Malaysia and throughout Southeast Asia teaching and training Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees about health education topics and healthy behavior practices.